Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Like a dream"

While I haven't been working, I've been watching a consortium of Iraq War documentaries in an effort to be a proper citizen and weave past the pundits, the talking heads, the dumbass slogans and bumper stickers and the politics surrounding what I believe to be the most significant event this country is currently facing. So enough with the blathering and lets get this war justified (or not).

First up is "The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair" released in 2006 with an 86% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yunis Abbas, an English speaking Iraqi journalist, recounts his experience being captured and imprisoned for plotting to kill Tony Blair. As a former and tortured captive of Saddam Hussein, he wasn't exactly a fan of the previous regime. His problem in this move though, is that he laughed when he was first told why he was captured. But why did he laugh? Because it was ridiculous.

Yunis spent most of his time at Camp Ganci, a mid/low level security area in Abu Ghraib that contained 4000 detainees classified as having no intelligence value. Also known for unsanitary living conditions, overcrowding, spoiled food, and inadequate access to health care. But the good news is that they weren't dying. Like many others sharing his campsite, Yunis and his brothers were taken from his home in the middle of the night. "Wrong place at the wrong time" type deal, where an Iraqi male should never be home, like ever. Especially at night.

During his stay, Yunis served as a translator to help preserve peace in the camps. He ended up helping the soldiers who made a conscious effort to help the prisoners. One of the soldiers found it weird that despite Yunis being charged with attempting to kill one of the world's predominant leaders, he wasn't grouped with the same people who actually plotted to kill the guy.

In the end, after a series of riots, attacks from the outside, Yunis and his brothers are released nine months later. The camp commander releasing him says "We don't know why you were here. There was a mistake. Sorry". Camp Ganci was closed sometime later and prisoners were moved to another site known as "Redemption." Huh, how about that.

Here's another take on the issue of false imprisonment, albeit the location in reference is different:

I sincerely hope that Yunis and other prisoners like him are more forgiving than I know myself to be. If an occupying force were to come into my/my family/my friend's house in the middle of the night, imprison me/my family/my friends on charges we would never get the chance to argue against, spit in our faces, torture our bodies, destroy our spirits, and insult our religion, I sure as hell know where I would stand when it comes to that whole "with us or against us" downstream flow of arrogant bullshit.

Pardon me, but my bias is showing.

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